"Talons of the Eagle" (a.k.a "Near Miss") is a comic-book story, published in TV Century 21 Issues 66-72, 23rd April-4th June 1966.
Thunderbirds 1 and 2 are returning from Africa when they are spotted and pursued by a giant US Air Force plane called the Eagle. Back at Tracy Island, Jeff determines to improve security by tracking down and destroying the Eagle - a mission that Virgil fears might create a disaster of its own. Miniature locator cameras launched from Thunderbird 5 trace the Eagle to Base 27ZX. The plane takes off and Thunderbird 1 moves in, destroying the radio before moving in for the kill. The Eagle crashes into the sea, leaving International Rescue with another problem - that of saving its crew...
Returning from Africa, Scott brings Thunderbird 1 home following all clear from Alan in the cliff house and John aboard Thunderbird 5; all checks are carried out of any activity within 200 miles of Tracy Island to ensure International Rescue's base remains top secret. However, an hour later, when Virgil is given the all clear about Thunderbird 2, Jeff hears the sound of an unfamiliar aircraft, which Virgil spots.
Screaming over Tracy Island is a large US Air Force aircraft called the Eagle, and the aircraft pursues Thunderbird 2. Overshooting their base, Virgil tries to escape, but the Eagle is much too fast for the giant transporter. The Eagle pilot orders Thunderbird 2 to break radio silence, but Virgil won't compromise International Rescue's secrecy. Jeff orders Virgil to try to out run the aircraft, but to no avail. So, with one option left, Virgil must use emergency rocket units, but not before destroying the missiles launched from the Eagle. Soon, the Eagle is out of sight, and Thunderbird 2 is forced into space, and out of fuel.
Back on Tracy Island, Jeff is fuming; he can't understand why the Eagle breached their security system. Brains (aboard Thunderbird 2) suggests that the Eagle must be using an advanced jamming equipment to avoid detection, but without any further details, he knows that International Rescue have a serious problem. Jeff tells Brains to think it over, whilst Alan and Gordon report that search planes and ships are within their area; luckily they are registered on their scanners. Once the search is over, Alan and Scott set off in Thunderbird 3 to refuel Thunderbird 2.
Once refueled, Thunderbirds 2 and 3 return to base, and then, Brains explains before he builds a counter scanner, they must have the full details of the US Air Force's jamming device. Knowing that the US Air Force won't reveal their secrets to them, Jeff sets up a plan; they'll find the Eagle's base and then, they'll shoot it down.
Aboard Thunderbird 5, John launches tiny rockets from the space satellite, which contain locator cameras on board. Avoiding tracking from Earth, the rockets land at each US Air Force base, and one camera is in the right place at the right time: a hangar rises from the runway, and the Eagle aircraft comes out of it at Base 27ZX. Once John reports the findings to Tracy Island, Scott launches Thunderbird 1. However, Virgil isn't all that pleased about the plan as it might create a disaster. Jeff agrees with his son, but it is the only way for them to remain secretive.
Scott locates the Eagle taking off from US Air Force Base 27ZX, and then, Thunderbird 2 with Pod 4 sets off with Virgil and Gordon. After releasing Thunderbird 4 into the ocean, Thunderbird 2 follows on. Scott finds the Eagle, but the Eagle crew realise that they've being spotted. Quick thinking, Scott launches a low yield missile to knock out the Eagle's radio; however, with automatic frequency, Base 27ZX responds to the Eagle's distress call.
The Eagle crew decides to take care of Thunderbird 1, but Scott takes the same action first by launching a missile destroying the Eagle's tail unit. Losing altitude, the Eagle is forced to crash-land on the sea. Then, Gordon aboard Thunderbird 4 launches a gas missile to knock out the crew.
Once Virgil douses the flames with Thunderbird 2, Gordon goes aboard the Eagle where he finds the jammer in the cabin. However, the Eagle begins to sink beneath the waves. Scott calls Virgil to use Thunderbird 2's grabs, and quickly, the Eagle is raised from the waves. Having taken photographs of the jammer, Gordon returns to Tracy Island aboard Thunderbird 4. Meanwhile, Thunderbirds 1 and 2 take the tail-damaged Eagle to Mateo Island, which is 60 miles away from Tracy Island.
The Tracys work on the repairs to the tail unit of the Eagle, and two days later, once the job is done, they return to Tracy Island. Meanwhile, during those two days, Brains has built his new counter scanner. When the Eagle crew eventually wake up, they are very surprised about their whereabouts and the repairs to their plane. Nevertheless, they leave Mateo Island, totally unaware of International Rescue's involvement; and as for International Rescue, thanks to their desperate plan, their secret is safe.
(In order of appearance)
- Scott Tracy
- Jeff Tracy
- Alan Tracy
- John Tracy
- Virgil Tracy
- Eagle Pilot
- Base 27ZX Control
- Gordon Tracy
- Eagle Co-Pilot
International Rescue Equipment Used Edit
- This story follows on from the events of Mission To Africa.
- The Eagle is the same aircraft as the RTL-2 transporter aircraft featured in the episode The Cham-Cham.